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Genetics. 2013 Apr;193(4):1083-94. doi: 10.1534/genetics.112.145581. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

A computational approach to developing mathematical models of polyploid meiosis.

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Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology GmbH, 1030 Vienna, Austria.


Mathematical models of meiosis that relate offspring to parental genotypes through parameters such as meiotic recombination frequency have been difficult to develop for polyploids. Existing models have limitations with respect to their analytic potential, their compatibility with insights into mechanistic aspects of meiosis, and their treatment of model parameters in terms of parameter dependencies. In this article I put forward a computational approach to the probabilistic modeling of meiosis. A computer program enumerates all possible paths through the phases of replication, pairing, recombination, and segregation, while keeping track of the probabilities of the paths according to the various parameters involved. Probabilities for classes of genotypes or phenotypes are added, and the resulting formulas are simplified by the symbolic-computation system Mathematica. An example application to autotetraploids results in a model that remedies the limitations of previous models mentioned above. In addition to the immediate implications, the computational approach presented here can be expected to be useful through opening avenues for modeling a host of processes, including meiosis in higher-order ploidies.

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